A four-week truck driver training program is now available at Grant Career Center for nearby residents thanks to a new partnership between Southern State Community College (SSCC) and Grant Career Center.
“We are pleased to announce the newest location for Southern State’s Truck Driving Academy program,” said John Joy, SSCC Dean of Workforce Development and Community Service. “This partnership agreement arranged with Grant will be beneficial to all those who are interested in pursuing truck driving as a viable and financially rewarding career option.”
In a recent report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that Ohio had a net gain of 43,000 jobs in 2011 and the types of jobs the administration thinks will be most in demand in Ohio over the next few years are engineers, computer scientists, machinists, long-distance truck drivers, diesel mechanics and welders.
“With the economic downturn I saw lots of jobs going away, and I knew I wanted job security,” said Teddy Hill, a recent TDA graduate. “When I researched I found that truck driving is a very secure industry. I had always been interested in driving, so I enrolled at the Truck Driving Academy. I had a great experience with the training program. The program and instruction are very thorough, and I had a job even before I graduated. The TDA gave me everything I needed to be prepared for this industry. I am now finished with my initial company training and beginning my new career. I would recommend the TDA to anyone considering this field.”
All of the coursework for the program will be offered by Southern State TDA instructors at Grant Career Center, located at 718 West Plane Street in Bethel, Ohio.
“I found out about the TDA through friends and local agencies after being downsized,” said TDA graduate Steven Spalding. “It was a good school experience, but I enjoyed the instructor most of all…very thorough and hands-on, in the class and on the road. You get plenty of practice time. Our class was lucky in that we caught on pretty fast, but I noticed that the school made sure that all students, regardless of how long they took, were given time to get everything right before they took their test. That was impressive. I’m receiving job offers now. I have found that it’s not a matter of whether you can get a job, it’s a matter of where you want to work.”
The Class A CDL and Class B CDL program requires 160 classroom hours for completion and can be attained in either a four-week or eight-week format.
The four-week program is offered daytime hours Monday through Friday, while the eight-week program is offered on Saturdays. New class groups begin on a two week, pre-arranged schedule.
“I had never even driven a standard before, so when I got behind the wheel of those big trucks, I had a little trouble shifting,” said TDA graduate Marcus Burns. “It didn’t matter, my instructors were patient. They gave me tips and worked with me. I practiced, and I passed my CDL the first time. I noticed that they are willing to give everyone who needs it extra practice time. They have the experience to be able to give you the answers. These guys care about their students and want them to be successful.”
The course begins with learning essential driving skills, regulations, safety, and basic mechanical systems. Students then move into the truck for realistic exercises on a closed course, and as confidence is gained, students will drive on low-traffic roadways and city streets with tractor-trailer combinations, advancing to road driving, combining classroom instruction with driving skills, refining knowledge, and practicing on controlled courses designed to help increase confidence on the open road.
During the last week of training, students will fine-tune driving, routing, and paperwork skills, learn advanced shifting techniques, as well as how to handle a rig under differing road conditions. Students will be able to complete runs on congested city throughways, handle common roadside mechanical repairs, and shift like a professional.
Students then go through a thorough review and practice test before taking the actual Commercial Driver’s License exam.
“The TDA was a great experience. The instructors really care and were a lot of help. I really enjoyed the program, and I did well,” said graduate Chris Pitman. “I chose truck driving as a career because I really enjoy driving and travelling. My mom is a driver, and this is something I knew I wanted to do. Once you have a CDL, you can drive just about anything, and you have a whole world of opportunities open to you. I have an over-the-road job lined up with a national carrier, and I start training next week. I’m really looking forward to my new career!”
For more information or to apply to Southern State’s TDA, please call 1-800-628-7722, ext. 4560, email TDA@sscc.edu or visit www.truckdrivingacademy.us.